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Feeding Sluggo

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I am delighted to say that after taking his first two slugs on June 26,  Sluggo has expanded his dietary horizons from slugs to fresh cantaloupe, 
strawberries, blueberries, bananas, black raspberries, peaches and Repto-Min turtle sticks (the green things in this photo).

 I encourage him by soaking the Repto-Min in cantaloupe juice, or by pushing the dry sticks into fresh cantaloupe, where he can't help but devour them. Repto-Min is a wonderful complete food, that raises some mighty nicely shelled baby box turtles for me. Every day I put more Repto-Min in his fruit. He cleans it up!

Sluggo's housed in a 20 gallon long aquarium, with moist peat and sphagnum moss and some groovy shallow rock-like dishes just for reptiles. He's right under a south window, which gives him sun for basking. It's important to have water always available. Hurt box turtles often soak all day and night. It makes them feel better. You really have to stay on top of them, though, and keep that water clean, because they like to poopify their water. Choosing to poop in their water actually makes caring for box turtles easier, if a bit disgusting. Overall, it keeps their limited artificial environment a lot cleaner. About twice a day I'm taking sloshy poopified water outside to throw it off the deck. Ick. Worth it, though.

More than a month after finishing his injections, Sluggo's still not using his hind legs much. That's all right. They seem to work, in that he can extend and retract them. He'll get around to it eventually, and I'm not going to rush him. He's had a rough summer. And he still doesn't trust me to mess with his hinders. It takes box turtles a long time to trust someone who's once hurt them (with Baytril injections) but he'll get there. Every day he's a little more outgoing, and he'll eat from my fingers now.

 He can stay here as long as he needs to. I'll take care of him. If that means a year or two, that's fine with me. But we all look forward to the day when I can call the folks who brought him to me and tell them he's ready to come home. He'll be released right where he was found. Minus the lawnmower.

Many thanks to those who chipped in on Sluggo's treatment costs. I wasn't expecting that. Y'all paid for his Baytril, his Repto-min, his Tegaderm, his Silvodine cream and some very nice cantaloupe, and for that I thank you sincerely. You always surprise me, in the nicest ways, and fill my heart.


Julie, remember those poor terripins, the red eared sliders they used to sell in the dimestore?
I had three and fed them trout chow mixed with gelatin and grated whitefish. They grew and prospered. They lived in an aquarium in the winter and outside in a wading pool in the summer. I have to add they farted magnificently and in the water it was amplified. Always gave me a good chuckle.

Posted by pickles August 4, 2011 at 4:58 AM

Must add that one summer they plotted their escape and crawled out over the side of the pool. We live on the shore of a lovely environmental lake but I knew they are only native as far north as Iowa and we are in Minnesota. Every June when the mud turtles, blandings and snappers come out to lay their eggs I'm always on the look out for them in hopes they survived but as yet have never seen one.

Posted by pickles August 4, 2011 at 5:04 AM

I mistreated a few red-eared sliders in my day, in the oval pool with the plastic palm tree in the middle, with the little box of Harz Mountain dried fruit flies...I shudder to think. I remember burying poor Sailor Bob at a very tender age (his and mine). Trout chow and grated whitefish must make a heck of a turtle! We've got a naturalized population of RESL in a wetland just across the river in WV, from just such sources as yours. They are apparently native in the Cinci area, but not farther east. Unless of course you talk to the WV turtles, who would tell you they're born and raised in Williamstown.
This link is about our lake, Pigeon, with three islands and heron, cormorant, egret and pelican rookeries.
And my terripins were about 7 inches across when they escaped.
Sorry to be so windy... ahem

Posted by pickles August 4, 2011 at 6:21 AM

Hi Julie:

Let me just add my hearty endorsement of Reptomin. I have used it for a number of years to supplement feedings of water turtles and they grew at phenomenal rates.

Pickles, your escaped redears are probably alive and well. Related species of sliders go quite far north. You may not see them because they may have all been females or males. Or they may have spread out after their escape and haven't been able to find each other to breed. Escaped redears do just fine in NJ, even though this isn't part of their normal range.

Thrilled that Sluggo is doing so well. Back in the 60's, I bought two red ear sliding turtles for 50 cents -- Mrytle and Ed. I ended up digging a hole in the back yard and putting in a plastic pool for them to swim in with a couple of bricks in the middle to sun themselves. They'd eat whatever meat we ate for dinner. Myrtle LOVED liver. I'd go down and catch little shrimp and minnows for Myrtle and Ed. Once they were larger than a softball - I let them go at our river cabin on the St.Johns River. I love turtles!!

And thus are red-ears boosted around the continent, by people who love them and let them go. They're probably raised at big aquaculture farms in Louisiana and elsewhere, and then make their way to Minnesota and the St. John's River and Williamstown WV and who knows where else. It's a completely unorganized, undocumented stocking system, but obviously effective in dispersing this species to far-flung places.

Sorry my link to Pigeon Lake didn't work.
Cold Comfort, Mr Macawber and Madame Bizarre (2 females, one male, I think) were mean and would try to grab my fingers when I handfed them. Those beaks of theirs could really pinch!! I would feed them every three days in the kitchen sink and wait for them to defecate. Thus they never messed their water. Cork for floats and a heat lamp in the winter. Now I'll shut up :)

Posted by pickles August 4, 2011 at 7:24 AM

This post was a good read. Glad to hear that Sluggo is eating!

I thought that this was a recipe for turtle soup for a min, man am i relieved ! Richard from Amish Stories.

glad to see that Sluggo is now eating. congrats on being named a Blog of Note!

"I mistreated a few red-eared sliders in my day, in the oval pool with the plastic palm tree in the middle, with the little box of Harz Mountain dried fruit flies...I shudder to think."

Ohh man, are you bringing back the memories now (I shudder as well!)
And did you also have the little green "chameleon" (anole) pets as a child -- I never knew where mine escaped to, until I'd hear mom or sis scream from another room...

Julie, you are bringing back fond memories of the three box turtles I cared for as part of my job at an environmental education center in Georgia. One had a severely misshapen shell due to poor care from a prior owner, but he was a sweetheart - loved his baths and always ate what I gave him. Another, who was getting rather old, would go long stretches of time without eating no matter what I tempted her with, so I definitely understand the frustration of trying to get them to eat and having to remind oneself that reptiles just operate on a different schedule!

I am telling you that the meal you have provided looks like a feast for this vegetarian. How sweet!

Yay! So glad to see Sluggo is improving. I heart turtles! And I love watching this one get back on his feet. You are so good for caring for me. Thanks for sharing with us his process!!

hi,your blog and photos are so nice
i hope you can visit me at:

He's really a cute little guy. I'm glad he found you.

Posted by Anonymous August 5, 2011 at 7:13 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.

Aw he's so cute!


He probably thinks he has gone to Heaven! He might not want to leave you ever!

I'm learning so much! I love reading how caring you are of the birds and critters. Visiting you makes my heart sing! Thank you, Julie.

it so intersering huhu

cool blog!!check me out

lucky Slugo to have u ;)

Loved to see Sluggo eating his gourmet meal. Thanks for sharing his recovery story. ~ Bella

I remember seeing them when i was a kid in the zoo with my parents.

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